Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites

Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites

by Syl Arena


$54.99 View All Available Formats & Editions


For those new to flash photography—or for anyone who has previously given up out of frustration—Speedliter’s Handbook, Second Edition, is a revelation. Follow along as photographer Syl Arena takes you on a journey that begins with an exploration of light and color, moves through a comprehensive discussion of the Canon Speedlite family and all of the accessories and equipment available to the Speedliter, and finally, explores crafting great light in one photo shoot after another. Whether you want to make a classic portrait, photograph a group, capture an important event, or create dramatic color effects in your images, Speedliter’s Handbook shows you how.

In this fully updated second edition, Syl includes all of the newest Canon gear—including the radio-enabled 600EX-RT Speedlite and ST-E3 Transmitter—to ensure that you are completely up to date on all of the components in the Speedlite system. He also includes a downloadable online supplement on the brand-new 430EX III-RT Speedlite. Plus, he covers his newest best practices and workflows so you can make the most of your Canon gear.

In this new edition, you’ll learn how to:

  • see the various properties of light itself, as well as the differences between how your camera sees versus how you see
  • use all the buttons and dials of the entire Canon Speedlite family—from the flagship 600EX-RT and the new 430EX III-RT to vintage models like the 550EX
  • understand the basics of on-camera flash . . . and the benefits of getting your Speedlite off the camera
  • beautifully balance flash with the existing ambient light
  • get amazing shots with just one Speedlite, all the way up to a dozen Speedlites
  • use the right Speedlite mode for the job: E-TTL, Manual, Multi, and more
  • use color gels to balance color, as well as create dramatic effects
  • tame the sun—or any really bright light—with high-speed sync
  • use Speedlites when photographing groups and events
  • choose your camera’s exposure settings to capture the shot that you truly want
  • and much, much more

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780134007915
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Publication date: 08/18/2015
Pages: 456
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Back in the dark ages of view cameras and enlargers, Syl Arena studied commercial photography at Brooks Institute and fine art photography at the University of Arizona. An early indication of Syl's willingness to explore the boundaries of photography was his construction of a pinhole camera into which he loaded 20 x 24 litho film. Over the years, Syl has shot commercially for newspapers, magazines and catalogs. He has been recognized for his expertise on color-critical workflow and his ability to turn noon to night by firing off a dozen Speedlites simultaneously. Today, Syl covers the world of photography on his blog PixSylated.com, is a full-time art teacher, and leads workshops around the world including at the popular Maine Media Workshops. He is the author of the best-selling first edition of Speedliter’s Handbook, as well as Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots. He lives in San Luis Obispo, CA, and can be found at pixsylated.com and sylarena.com.

Table of Contents

0. Quick Start Guide to Speedliting

Part 1: Before Speedlites, There Was Light
1. Learn to See Light
2. Exposure Exposed
3. Mechanics of Light
4. Manage the Ambient Light
5. Position Is Relative

Part 2: Speedlites Fundamentally
6. Meet the Speedlites
7. Control Your Speedlite
8. Flashing Manually
9. E Is for Evaluative
10. Specialty Flash Modes

Part 3: Off-Camera Speedliting
11. Triggers for Off-Camera Flash
12. Optical Wireless, the Canon Way
13. Radio Speedliting: Canon’s New Frontier

Part 4: Gear for Speedliting
14. Go Ahead, Mod Your Speedlite
15. Those Big Modifiers Always Get in the Way
16. Get a Grip
17. Keeping the Energy Up

Part 5: Speediting in Action
18. Getting the Most from On-Camera Flash
19. Portraits with One Speedlite
20. Portraits with Multiple Speedlites
21. Gelling for Effect
22. Slicing Time with High-Speed Sync
23. Gang Lighting

Part 6: Appendixes
1. Menus–600EX-RT / ST-E3-RT Radio Wireless
2. Menus–600EX-RT Optical Wireless
3. Menus–600EX-RT Non-Wireless
4. Custom and Personal Functions

Online Supplement: 430EX III-RT Speedlite

Customer Reviews

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Speedliter's Handbook 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
DanPhoto More than 1 year ago
I'm digging into Syl Arena's book on Canon Speedlite's and it is great. If you are a Canonista you want this book! It's specific to Canon flashes and cameras, but also covers lighting in general. It starts by covering how light interacts with the thing you are taking a picture of, and how it effects the image you end up with. A big takeaway is that the shadow parts of your picture are just as important as the light parts. The book really explains how lighting equipment works, including the specifics of Canon Speedlites along with studio equipment along with specific recommendations. It answers questions like "What's flag?" or "When should I use a CTO?" For me this is great stuff, it's really taking the mystery out of lighting techniques for me. Then the book has a ton of example images, each with a description of how the lighting was setup for the image and why the lighting was setup that way. It also shows what happens to the image when you setup the lighting the wrong way. It covers everything from "How do a make a portrait with one Speedlite." to "What do a do when the sun is in front of me." My plan is to use these as a lesson plan to practice using my Speedlites, and I sure can use the practice. Love the overall organization. Each chapter starts with a quick overview of what the chapter contains. Hints a sprinkled thoughout the book. Super book that covers everything from the aesthetics of lighting to how to use a guide number. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been looking for quite a while for a book on Canon flash photography. Syl's book is just the thing I needed. He uses recent models of Canon cameras and Speedlites to demonstrate techniques. This book is written in a friendly, easily understood style. The procedures and accompanying photographs clearly explain how to use the Canon system of flash photography. Many such instruction books are painful to read, with little knowledge gained in the effort. Reading this book was both informative and fun. Highly recommended. The only reason for my not assigning five stars is the fact that a few of the techniques discussed involve the use of four or more speedlites. So, these did not apply to me. Perhaps in a couple of years I will be able to afford to buy a couple more speedlites. Then I'll submit a five star review.
Josh_30 More than 1 year ago
This book is like the Bible for speedliters. (Off camera speedliters anyways) It starts off very technical, explaining the mystical ways that the Canon ettl and wireless systems work, and other geeky but vital concepts to effective speedliting. Them it moves through modifiers, accessories, gels, techniques... and it gives opinions on various products available. Easily one of the best and most informative reads on flash photography... especially if you're a Canon shooter. The section that explains speedlite functions is better than the manual from Canon! Highly recommended!
ryosode on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A little more thorough and a slower read than I hoped it to be, but still a great read from a seasoned professional and quite a few improvements ideas for my lighting setups.Recommended for Canon lighting freshmen to juniors.
1Larry More than 1 year ago
This is the real book you need to apply your speedlight in real life settings. For those of us that are not going to buy studio strobes and want to do everything with speedlights, Syl tells it like it is. Be forewarned once the author is done with the basics, he uses more than one speedlight and introduces you to lots of helpful hardware (but you did not get into photography because it was cheap).
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MoTAZ More than 1 year ago
Well written and comprehensive - this book is worth every penny Covers everything from basic photography like fstops and depth of field to which kind of battery to buy - would highly recommend!
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